Antigone's sister / FRI 1-3-20 / Mark on foreheads of Hindu women / Economic lose-lose / Signs in 2002 sci-fi film Signs / Employer of Wonder Woman in old comics / Leader of olden clan / Occupant of Zarzuela Palace / Hero of film literature who rode horse Tornado / Removes as from currency control

Friday, January 3, 2020

Constructor: Will Treece

Relative difficulty: Challenging (7:29)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: BINDI (25A: Mark on the foreheads of Hindu women) —
bindi (Hindiबिंदी, from Sanskrit बिन्दु bindú, meaning "point, drop, dot or small particle") is a coloured dot worn on the centre of the forehead, originally by Hindusand Jains from the Indian subcontinent. The word bindu dates back to the hymn of creation known as Nasadiya Sukta in the Rigveda.[1] Bindu is considered the point at which creation begins and may become unity. It is also described as "the sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state" (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow, really thought this was a Saturday. Between having just woken up from a nap to discover that we are trying to start a hot war with Iran, and still being under the "what day is it even?" holiday haze, and the puzzle's Saturday-level difficulty, I was very confused. I even tweeted about the puzzle with the hashtag #Saturday... But it's Friday, Friday, Across and Down on Friday!

I think I went in with Big Saturday Energy, and the puzzle met me where I was at. That is, I was braced for hardness, and so I was somewhat more deliberate, somewhat more on the lookout for pitfalls, second-guessing myself, etc. But the real problem for me was the barrage of wrong answers, wrong answers that looked very right, wrong answers that, in fact, shared half or more of the letters of the *correct* answers. And all of these came in a bunch, up top. The worst of them all was OTHELLO for OPHELIA (4A: Shakespeare character who introduced the phrase "primrose path"). I had "O-HEL--" and Did Not Blink. I also don't think I read the clue past "Shakespeare character," because, well, it seemed obvious that the answer was OTHELLO, why go on? WHY INDEED! Ugh.

Then at 15D: Heaters (GATS) I had GUNS and at 7D: "___ Is Betta Than Evvah!" (1976 album) (ETTA) I had ELLA. Yes, in retrospect, ELLA does not rhyme with "Betta," but that meant nothing to me in the moment. I just thought "hmm, ELLA sings Cole Porter, right? And he wrote 'Did You Evah?', didn't he??" Pffffffffft. O those three mistakes just wrecked me. I also wrote in GRADDAD instead of GRANDKID at 11D: IV vis-à-vis II, e.g. because ... I dunno, dumbness? That whole section was a big claggy. I knew BINDI, but forgot Alice MUNRO won the Nobel and totally did not understand the UNCLE clue (22D: Cave man?) until well after I was finished with the puzzle (if you "Cave" (in) you might cry "UNCLE!"). I am now literally laughing at the UNCLE / CRACKER crossing:

I have definitely read "Antigone" and I definitely have no recollection of ISMENE, yipes! (47A: Antigone's sister). I only remember CREON! Just looked it up and CREON has somehow been in the grid only once (!) in the entire time I've been blogging (13+ years!!!). And this makes *two* appearances for ISMENE in that time period. The world is broken and upside-down. . . My last observation about this puzzle is that the perimeter, from the S around the SE corner (so SEERESSOSSMESSES) is not, uh, good. When you're pushing that many "S"s and "E"s into terminal positions, you are *struggling* to keep the grid from collapsing. Crutch city. But on the whole, I thought this one was solid enough. And I can see its having played as a very normal Friday if I hadn't fallen into a trap or two.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:07 AM  

Not often I have a very easy when Rex has a challenging.

Joaquin 12:13 AM  

You think you know someone, and then ... GUN and GATS appear in the same puzzle and not a word of complaint. I would have bet the farm.

This is the second time in about a month this has happened to me. A few weeks ago a dentist in my neighborhood was busted for selling drugs. I'd been going to him for several years; never knew he was a dentist.

puzzlehoarder 12:31 AM  

Great Friday. Saturday time. I was glad to see xwordinfo give this a pow.

Just getting the NW corner took me Wednesday time. The final step to that little saga was changing OTHELLO to OPHELIA. It's probably not the first time I've done that.

After the NW the rest of the puzzle took another Wednesday. MUNRO over BINDI was a nice little roadblock. The middle was cracked open by ACHORUSLINE.

In the SE ISMENE created a lesser roadblock. It got some help from my initially entering 25D as BRUTALISIMS. It's amazing how a little creative spelling can fill any desired space. Just like the musical up north CROPCIRCLES cracked open the SE.

Along the way there was an ELCID/ZORRO write over and a BTEN/BTWO as well. A very entertaining solve.

Solverinserbia 1:10 AM  

I also had Othello for OPHELIA. I had GRANDson for GRANDKID. With all the stuff I didn't know at all, OPHELIA, ISMENE, THANE, MUNRO, etc I was happy to finish even if it did take 18:23.

chefwen 1:30 AM  

Woo Hoo! Another Friday finished unassisted, I’m either getting better or the puzzles are getting easier, would like to think it’s the former, but it’s probably the latter.

Slow out of the gate, but with a few long ones firmly in place I.e. PLASTIC CUPS, RITZ CRACKERS (which taste nothing like saltines IMO) STAGFLATION etc. I just sailed to the finish line.

Loved it.

Pablo 1:36 AM  

I'm surprised you say challenging... because I was actually able to do it. To top it off, as a 26 year old scientist who never studied any French, I'm godawful at the knowledge side of NYTXWs. Forget greek mythology, Shakespeare, classic rock outside of the top 10 or so bands. Not a movie buff. Terrible at geography. I DNF with a Natick on probably 50% of Fri/Sat puzzles at this point. I was almost too young for OPER, then some memory or another from texting on a flip phone in middle school reminded me of how phones used to look.

This puzzle was full of awful literary references and old timey material. OPHELIA is well known enough... but Primrose Path is English major fodder. MUNRO is Friday material I guess, but would anyone accept "Allison" or "Honjo" or "Yamanaka" as answers that were anything but random trivia? Probably not. Big skew towards the literary crowd but that's to be expected here. Other stuff completely out of my ballpark included GATS (never heard of heaters, is this an old expression?), ISMENE, LORRE, SEERESS, OSS, ETTA (though definitely gettable), the clue for LIAR, and THANE. I also didn't like the clues for ANEMIAS or HUM.

Not too much current, and the scientists get RNA and BTWO... but it's not all bad. The clue for UNCLE was fantastic. RITZCRACKER on top of ACHORUSLINE is interesting. CARET messed me up as I initially misspelled it as CARaT crossed with CRawl. That took a while to sort out.

This is the first entry of the year I just didn't like that much, but I've always preferred themed puzzles anyway.

matt and court 2:13 AM  

We really liked this puzzle! Kind of breezed through after getting a few long answers!

jae 3:08 AM  

Mostly easy for me. My only hesitation was the LES/ISMENE cross...I kinda knew the French thing but my “if it looks wrong it is probably wrong” rule caused me to hesitate re: ISMENE.

The TUNA TARTARE/STAGFLATION stack was more than enough to put this into the like a bunch zone. A fine Fri. and Jeff gave it POW!

sf27shirley 6:31 AM  

Good one!

Loren Muse Smith 6:40 AM  

@Pablo – great post.

I bet those of us who led with “Othello” are legion. But I didn’t have nearly the trouble Rex did with this one.

For 41D, I went with “il y” as in Il y avait une fois un trou de cul cochon qui a pris le contrôle. . . It’s the French way of Once upon a time.

UNFRIEND – the only way you ever know I guess is if you do some detective work? I know I’ve been unfriended at least once, and it was because of this blog.

I had a dnf because I didn’t know how to spell BRUTALITIES. That penultimate I, because of its schwa-erity, could be any letter. So ISMENE could arguably be Esmene or Asmene. (Morning, @puzzlehoarder and @jae.)

STAGFLATION is a funny word. It conjures up images of guys overestimating their, well, guy stuff.

BTW – Back To Work. Kids’ first day is today. Ours (teachers) was yesterday. We were subjected to professional development training involving video clips of engaged, interested, motivated high-schoolers working in groups. Stepford students. (I want to see how this works with tired, disengaged, angry kids who cheerfully snap pencils in half and pulverize wintergreen Lifesavers for snorting purposes the minute my back is turned.) We were also admonished via PowerPoints and Ted talks to incorporate more technology into our teaching. I have a class with 30 freshman. Our biggest, “best” computer lab has 20 computers, and a lot of them are broken. The disconnect between the directives and the reality is staggering.

Hard not to see the LIAR CREEP strafing our WE THE PEOPLE.

Z 6:41 AM  

Hm, I’d say SEERESS/OSS/MESSES disqualifies this as POW, What a hot MESSES to end with. I did like the quartet of stacked 11s, but the sweet smell of desperation permeates.

@Pablo - I’m twice your age and GATS is old-timey to me, too. “Heaters” is allegedly old-timey slang for guns as well. Both terms skew towards the first half of last century. GATS will reappear in a NYTX soon, so just file that little tidbit away. Also, not all prize winners appear in equal measure. Agee and MUNRO are going to appear far more often than, say. Svetlana Alexievich. OTOH, everyone should watch Casablanca. I did wonder about your flip phone story. Have you never been in an office?

@Joaquin - Nice one.

QuasiMojo 6:47 AM  

I had all the same mistakes as Rex but managed to fix them as I raced through this. I did know Ismene for a lot of reasons so that helped. After yesterday's hohum puzzle this felt like a sparkling, very ASTUTE, delightful exercise in literary high points and witty clues. MUNRO was easy for me and made me think of that other Munro, SAKI, whom I adore. Yes it was all right up my alley (save for the Jedi thing) but it sang off the page. One clunker though, I admit, was the GrandKID answer. Felt odd using KID there. And I may be wrong about this but I seem to recall occasional instances where grandnephews get the III or IV addendum. Anyone know more? Bravo Will Treece!

Lewis 6:51 AM  

When you combine crackerjack answers (such as TUNA TARTARE, A CHORUS LINE, WE THE PEOPLE, even HUM) with crackerjack clues (those for LIAR, A CHORUS LINE, UNCLE, ORG, ACRE, OPER, and HUM), and give your creation plenty of tug, then you have come up with one sparkling Friday puzzle. This puzzle has an AIM high, and that's just what you did, W.T., with great success. Thank you for a satisfying and fun solve.

Some random notes:
* I'll stay away from row 9, thank you, inhabited as it is with a LIAR and CREEP.
* I say HELL NO to the MESSES caused by the crossing TAKE REVENGE and BRUTALITIES.
* See that backward STAG meeting the forward STAG?
* I couldn't help but flash on the Bible story of Jesus bringing sustenance to the multitudes with that cross of FED and LOAF.
* I have to reprise Sam Ezersky's terrific clue for CROP CIRCLE from last year: [Unbelievable discovery in one's field].

amyyanni 7:14 AM  

Like this a lot. Big grin at A CHORUS LINE holding down the center grid. Also enjoyed Rex's review. Auspicious first themeless of 2020!

Z 7:18 AM  

I went and googled images of the ubiquitous Cisco telephones. Not a single one has an OPER under the 0. The AT&T telephones have it, but lots of the images I saw were of really old telephones. So maybe it is possible to be mid-20’s and to have never seen OPER on a telephone. Yes, I now feel older than I did 20 minutes ago.

Suzie Q 7:36 AM  

I loved this. So much fun. Perfect Friday.
I managed to avoid the Othello trap because Hamlet is a favorite and a painting of Ophelia hangs above the desk I am sitting at right now.
Thanks for the chuckle @ Joaquin.
The clue for uncle was fantastic.
I got unpegs totally from crosses with no idea what it means.
I like @ Loren's definition of stagflation. Good one.

GILL I. 7:46 AM  

Maybe it's my TUNA TARTARE leftovers from Christmas, but I couldn't help but observe the MACE GUN GATS LIAR MANIAC UNFRIEND BRUTALITIES THE FORCE TAKE REVENGE HELL NO, MESSES. Oof. Happy New Year?
OK, so I got that off my chest. This was the fastest Friday, sans the Googs, for moi. I did have a smile with my first entry: ZORRO. I used to play Hop-Along-Cassidy and my favorite masked wonder all the time. People would also ask me why I didn't play Dale Evans but she was too feminine. ZORRO was da bomb! So off the Z I get RITZ CRACKER and I went humming along. Saw A CHORUS LINE when I first arrived in NYC; had no problem with OPHELIA nor ISMENE and plopped WE THE PEOPLE off of the W. Am I smart, or what?
We have TWO UN' that kosher?
Love me some Casablanca and Peter LORRE. COKE and Jack? HELL NO.

Hungry Mother 7:57 AM  

Mostly wordplay and much appreciated here. Faster than usual without being fast. A worthy challenge without being challenging.

kitshef 8:18 AM  

If you have O_HEL__, and you know it’s a Shakespeare character, you try resisting OTHELLO. (I see this is an extremely common error.)

Clue for UNCLE is simply terrible.

When I was in, say, my late 20s, lots of people had water beds. Have not seen one in the past fifteen years.

Patri15 8:23 AM  

"Il y avait une fois" is once upon a time in French. The rest does not sound like any fairy tale I remember... but i guess most commentators won't know that.

Anonymoose 8:29 AM  

Fully agree on Caveman clue.

mmorgan 8:29 AM  

That’s the kind of Friday I love. Tough, challenging, clever, with lots of stuff I didn’t know but all gettable from a letter here and a letter there. I didn’t trust ISMENE and didn’t get OPER (oh, now I do — ha!), but i was thrilled to see Mr Happy Pencil. Crisp, fun, rewarding puzzle. Thank you!!!

pabloinnh 8:29 AM  

Liked this one a lot. Good stuff WT.

Ditto to @Joaquin. Didn't see the zinger coming.

@Pablo's post should remove any confusion about which pablo is which. I found this full of the kind of stuff that's already in my admittedly older English major foreign language loving brain. I'm hoping we can set aside the age division controversies for a while. Our country seems to have plenty of divisions already without stoking another one.

mmorgan 8:31 AM  

@Joaquin — ha!

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Bees buzz.

Nancy 9:05 AM  

An easy Friday where it was easy, but I really struggled in the CROP CIRCLES section. I hadn't seen that 2002 sci-fi flick and I was sure the answer would be something I couldn't possibly have known. But everyone's heard of CROP CIRCLES and you'd better believe that I would have clued it in a way that didn't depend on pop culture knowledge.

In that same section, I didn't know Issa RAE (or is it RAE Issa?), 52Dcouldn't think of COAT for "cover" (my bad) and I never heard of "Jack and COKE". Is that Jack Daniels and COKE? All I can say is "Ugh".

Much more appealing is TUNA TARTARE. One of life's great treats. Just don't order it with Jack and COKE.

Best clue in the puzzle for me was for A CHORUS LINE (32A). I've seen the show, can [sort of] sing the song and yet I spent many long minutes completely baffled. I was looking for a missile launch. Come on, admit it -- you were, too, right?

Thought the clue for ACRE (52D) was mildly unfair. That's one teensy-tiny farm, doncha think?

I tried someone's WATERBED once. It was supposed to make my back feel better, but all it did was make me seasick.

Enjoyable puzzle.

oldbizmark 9:12 AM  

Very easy for me. Surprised by the CHALLENGING tag. Found this one very easy for a Friday, so much so, that I was disappointed it went so fast. Enjoyed the fill but could see some of it causing problems for some, like BINDI and ANEMIAS. Overall, good solving experience.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

@Patri15 I thought once upon a time in France is "Il était une fois..." -- am I missing some kind of joke?

webwinger 9:23 AM  

Agree there was lots of sparkle today, very enjoyable puzzle overall. Finished in a bit under average Friday time, with no help from Google! (I REALLY wanted to look up Antigone’s sister, but resisted it like a leftover holiday cookie…) Somehow got OPHELIA right off the bat, though my formal education was heavily weighted toward math and science. Didn’t understand the UNCLE clue until I read @Rex’s explanation, and didn’t much like it then. Clue for HUM also seemed off to me. But great misdirection in clue for A CHORUS LINE. Like @Nancy I was thinking launch countdown for quite a while.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

I will see your OtHELia for OPHELIA and EllA for ETTA and raise you a tOntO for ZORRO.

I did guess GAT correctly, however.

Whatsername 9:39 AM  

Had an old friend who drank nothing but Jack Daniels. However he would have smashed your glass if you tried to pour COKE in it. The thought of it makes me nauseated. I really enjoyed this puzzle. My answers were all over the place to start with and I had to work for it, but the finish was extremely satisfying. It seemed snappy and fresh. Thanks Will and Will. Very nice Friday.

@Z at 7:18 - Back when I was gainfully employed, I was sorting thru some old office equipment that had been tagged for disposal, and I had a young man who was a trainee helping me with the heavy lifting. Sitting on top of the pile was an electric typewriter that wasn’t all that ancient, just not used any more. He asked me what it was and said he’d heard of typewriters but had never actually seen one. Talk about feeling like a dusty old relic! I would’ve told him I actually learned how to type on one that wasn’t even electric, but I doubt he would have been able to comprehend the concept of a keyboard that wasn’t plugged into something.

Crimson Devil 9:43 AM  

This is classic Fri puz: I fell into every trap Rex did, and more. Much enjoyed.

What? 9:50 AM  

It’s Trivial Pursuit again.

Petsounds 9:50 AM  

SEERESS??? Seriously? It's 2020, not 1920.
Never heard of UNPEGS. Still not sure how GAT is a "heater." GRANDKID still gives me the bends. And bees don't make HUM; they HUM.

There were some excellent clues--those for A CHORUS LINE and WE THE PEOPLE, for example. But mostly I found myself on an entirely different wavelength from the constructor, so not terribly enjoyable.

Phil 9:54 AM  

Yeah that was good @Joaquin. I thought you would mention the COKE and BINDI in the same puzzle as well.

TJS 9:58 AM  

@Joaquin, great to start the morning off with a big laugh. Thank you.

And thanks to Mr. Treece. I loved this puzzle. And @Lewis, I am amazed at how your mind works. I never see the word connections that you do until I get to your comments. Actually, today I think all commentators are on top of their game. Thanks to all.

Nancy 10:02 AM  

@Joaquin -- I join many others in laughing out loud over your pusher/dentist witticism.

@Pablo (1:36 a.m.) -- Let me join @Loren in saying that I enjoyed your very interesting and chatty post today. But, oh, Pablo, you poor sweet innocent 26-year-old boy, you -- that "flip phone you used in middle school" is emphatically NOT "the way phones used to look." Wanna know how phones -- the ones with OPER written on them -- really used to look? Look at the first two phones shown ON THIS SITE

I had one until the ripe old age of 51. I loved it. It was made like the proverbial brick you-know-what. When I moved to a new apartment, I wanted to take it with me, but couldn't. Turns out the ringer was in the wall, not in the phone, so it would have been a phone that didn't ring.

Of course, once I got a landline with buttons instead of a rotary dial, I realized that dialing is a colossal waste of time. But I'm nothing if not a creature of habit, and damn, if that phone wasn't well-made. Dialing aside, there's never been a landline of that quality before or since.

Paul Rippey 10:23 AM  

I once heard a father tell his son a bedtime story starting with “Il fut une fois...”, using the more formal and literary passé simple. I wonder how that kid turned out?

Fun puzzle, but not as fun as @joaquim ‘s dentist joke.

GHarris 10:30 AM  

Yow, a tour de force for me. Did it on paper without a single cheat and only a couple of erasures, Othello ,of course being one. Very clever and somewhat challenging cluing added to my ultimate satisfaction. Agree that cave man was awful. Brace for the MidEast fallout.

Unknown 10:33 AM  

@LMS, I always enjoy your comments about the puzzle, and I can always feel your pain re: your students. I teach HS English in juvie lock-up. I like the term "Stepford Students" for those kids in PD videos! Our guys come in as 16-yr-old fifth graders reading at the second grade level, and then when I can't get them up to speed enough to pass our 10th-grade state proficiency exam in six months, well, shame on me. I love them, but I guess the disconnect from the real world at the administrative level is pretty much universal. At least we (teachers) don't go BTW until Monday, with kids coming Tuesday. And at least after 2 weeks of sitting in their dorms they're relieved to be in the relatively free classroom. Have a great 2nd semester (if that's your system).

OffTheGrid 10:34 AM  

This & that:

@Nancy, I shared your thought about ACRE at first but then thought of the clue word "lot" as a parcel, not a large amount.

I am amused by commenters who are disappointed when @Rex fails to rant about some particular thing.

To prepare for the big game you have to know your opponent's strengths and ANEMIAS.

Bees make a HUM.

Caveman/UNCLE is an awkward stretch.

Whatsername 10:36 AM  

Re the phone generation gap, this video of two millennials given four minutes to place a call on a rotary dial phone is illuminating. And side-splittingly funny.

J.J. 11:02 AM  

“Il y avait une fois” is loosely translated as “Once upon a time” although “there was once” would be equally valid. I would vote for “Il était une fois” as being the more accurate of the two. There are so many thousands of ways to clue LES ("laissez ___ bon temps rouler" would work nicely for a friday, par exemple) so it seems like a slight misfire there.

I’m also in the “bees buzz” camp, but I suspect that we will be in the minority today. SEERESS seems a little off (pronunciation-wise) - I’m surprised it doesn’t appear more often due to the fact that it would function almost like a random combination of e’s and s’s, lol.

Rotary dial phones are cool, but they are definitely an homage to the Joe “leave the record player on” Biden generation.

Leslie 11:02 AM  

@LMS Thank you for the fairy tale beginning. Wish it WAS only a fairy tale. Good luck with the semester; I don't know how you do it.
Some smiles today on the blog for sure. I felt the puzzle was dark (gun rights?, gat, revenge, brutalities, etc) and not that much fun. Surprised Rex didn't attack it.
Is a yarn the same as a lie? not to me.
Thanks OffTheGrid for explaining the lot/acre farm clue.
Bees make hum? very awkward.

JC66 11:12 AM  

Crossworld is off to a fine start with today's WT puzzle and some great posts, starting with, but not limited to @Joaqin's dentist/dealer.

Nancy 11:23 AM  

@whatsername -- Had to find your two millennials trying to use a rotary phone link on my own, since it wasn't in blue. You're right -- it's hilarious...and a real eye-opener. Guess it's all a matter of what we grow up with right? Those hapless kids, for example, would have put your link in blue in a New York minute. The only reason I can do it is because @Teedmn showed me how.

Here's another millennial dealing with a rotary phone link that's also very funny and that I stumbled on looking for yours. I'll make sure it's in BLUE.

Rug Crazy 11:28 AM  

I agree with Brian (Post # 1). No idea who Ismene is is, but accepted it from the crosses

Joaquin 11:39 AM  

Thanks to all who noted they enjoyed my dentist "yarn" today. My personal favorite for this century is LMS's definition of STAGFLATION. What a superb teacher she must be!

David 11:41 AM  

@LMS, I do read French. And I laughed out loud.

@Joaquin, good one

Back in the 80s, at most bars in NYC, there was plenty of coke with the Jack. It just wasn't soda.

Okay, why would anybody associate the primrose path with Othello? I dunno.

Slow start for me and some nifty wrong answers. "The preamble" for 42A, "golf" for 20A, and a few others. One of my first correct answers was "A Chorus Line," then thane, zorro, creep made for "Ritz Cracker" and the whole thing opened up for me. Off Ophelia I got: oft, plastic, harp, Etta, and lair [sic]. That last one slowed me down for a bit.

Heaters and gats bring to mind Jimmy Cagney and Edward G Robinson, no? Good company for Peter Lorre.

Oh, and the Alps barely creep into southern Bavaria, so that slowed me as well.

The very worst for me was "seeress" which is just not a word. The word is "seer" and it means "a person who sees what the future holds" more or less. Adding a Romance language diminutive to it is just silly, especially as we've spent the past few decades getting rid of most of the other English nouns with silly Romance language diminutives. Ugh.

Other than seeress, I loved this puzzle.

deerfencer 11:41 AM  

Liked this puzzle a lot! Kudos to the constructor for a vibrant, challenging solve that didn't lean too heavily on obscurity.

@whatshername: If you think Jack and Coke is disgusting, that old junkie William Burroughs's favorite imbibement was vodka and Diet Coke. He lived to be 83, and still on methadone maintenance (and his v&dc) to the end--go figure. A coterie of college kids who more or less adopted him kept Burroughs company through his last years in Kansas, where he loved his cats and guns to the very end.

Peter P 11:42 AM  

@Petsounds - In currency markets, a nation can link the exchange rate of its currency to another. For example, Belize's dollar is pegged at 2 to the US Dollar. The currency does not "float" on an exchange market where the prices can go up or down from day to day. As long as the currency remains pegged, it is exchanged at 2:1 with the US Dollar. If you want to make it float (exchanged on the free market according to supply and demand), you unpeg that currency. The pros and cons of pegged vs floating exchange rates is a bit beyond the scope here.

I think "gat" and "heater" were explained above, but "heater" is a slang word for a gun, and "gat" is similarly a slang word for gun.

@Whatsernam - I'm amused by your friend's attitude towards mixing Jack Daniels. Jack straight is okay (and some of their other products like their Single Barrel and perhaps even Gentleman Jack I wouldn't think about mixing), but the regular Jack? That's practically THE mixer whiskey. But, of course, people should drink what they like, how they like it. That said, I was at a wedding once where they were serving Johnnie Walker Blue (a $200/bottle Scotch whisky) and I ran into a friend drinking it as an Old Fashioned, maraschino cherry and orange twist and all. I'm surprised the bartender allowed him to do that but, hey, open bar, host is paying. (And, yes, Blue is a bit overpriced for what it is, but it's still an exceptional whisky where it's kind of a waste to dump into a cocktail like that one, but, hey, drink what you like.)

If I can finish a Friday without Googling, it's an easy puzzle, so this one was pretty easy-peasy for me, maybe Wednesday level. Fell into the same Othello/Ophelia trap. Did not like that Uncle clue, even after hearing the explanation. The surfeit of esses in the south/southeast section pestered me. But, overall, very enjoyable puzzle.

mathgent 11:48 AM  

Pretty good. Liked the clue for WETHEPEOPLE. Also liked seeing ZORRO. He was my favorite cowboy hero during the heyday of Westerns. Hopalong was a little feminine and The Lone Ranger was a little too nice.

I think it’s a stretch to call Peter LORRE a costar in Casablanca. Wikipedia calls Bogart, Bergman, and Henreid the stars. LORRE, Rains, and some others are called featured players.

A little junky for me. IOR is near unforgiveable. The clue for THATSUNREAL.

Linda R 11:51 AM  

@Nancy - If a link isn't blue, you can just copy it and paste it into your browser.

Kathy 11:55 AM  

When my husband read that Rex says today’s puzzle is challenging I figured I would be dead in the water. But I dove in as always, just to see how far I could get on my own. It was a delightful romp, at first, and my experience was similar to Rex’s, where entries that I was sure were working had to be reluctantly erased. One had to keep an open mind all the way through.

Yarn spinner, tried loom first.
Then had Solo cups, club cracker, Othello...
No one else started with Solo cups?!
Hung onto TATARE though, and was glad I did.

I still don’t know IOR or GATS, but this puzzle offered multiple crosses to get to most words. So many really enjoyable tussles along the way where I tried letters and looked for words to come into view. Lots of ahas!

Then—thud! I was snagged on proper names and the final few letters became nothing more than a dart board. Antigone sister crossing a French word, all I could do was guess LES and hope ISMENE is somebody. As far as Cassandra/Issa and the abbr., I just took shots in the dark on two empty squares. And finally met with success!

I never used to finish a Friday without help, so I am overjoyed with this evidence of progress even if it took me over an hour. But, oh, how I wish someone could construct a puzzle with no people’s names at all. Is this a pipe dream? Or am I the only one?

Thanks, @Pablo, for explaining OPER. I am even old enough to have actually used old style push button phones for decades and I didn’t see it! (The star wasn’t on the “really” old rotary dial phones, only on the “newer” push button phones) That’s a great clue! As an aside, back in the day, before they became functional, we always wondered what the star and pound keys were for. They were mystery keys just...there. We were told they would have a purpose in the future; we could never ever have imagined what the phone would evolve into!

Nancy from Chicago 12:00 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Just the right amount of difficulty to be rewarding but not frustrating. I'm proud of myself for avoiding the Othello/Ophelia miss (for some reason I immediately knew it was Ophelia without crosses). I still don't understand UNPEGS or OTHER (why does that mean "unlisted"?). I'm way old enough to remember rotary phones but I didn't understand the "OPER" answer until I came here.

Also, @Joaquin, so funny!

Masked and Anonymous 12:29 PM  

themelessthUmbsUp great FriPuz. Put up a fight. Lotsa overturned furniture, at our house.

Man, that openin NW corner just snapped at m&e with its terse clues. 1-A: {Point}. 1-D: {Sharp}. 3-D: {Nut}. 15-D: {Heaters}. M&A beat a hasty retreat to the welcomin weeject stack in the NE, where the clues got slightly more chatty, and I got "in" with GUN, RNA, AFT, NATO and company.

staff weeject pick goes to IOR. Always hope for some luvly Ow de Speration, somewheres crossin them stacked longball entries. (Poster)IOR really delivers the goods, with a nice thump to the rump.

scenic desperations: GRANDKID. UNPEGS. Bucket-O-POCs (yo, @AnoaBob): SEERESS+OSS+MESSES, as @RP already pounced on.

For the record, M&A got OPHELIA without any wrong guesses. HAR℗. Allow me to shake my spear.

Thanx for a gorgeous, feisty FriPuz, Mr. Treece.

Masked & Anonym007Us


jb129 12:45 PM  

Loved "Cave Man" (uncle). A good Friday challenge.

BTW - you nap a lot Rex - how do you sleep at night?

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

for those puzzled by UNPEGS: since the end of WWII, when the USofA controlled the Bretton-Woods process, the Uncle Sam Buck has been the New Gold. esp. since Nixon disconnected the Buck from Gold back in the 70s. our current Fearless Leader has no clue that the reason the Buck rules as the New Gold is also the reason all those 2nd and 3rd world countries (where he buys his steel, ties, workers, and most everything else) can sell here cheaply. most of those countries PEG their currency to the Buck, and so guarantee their leverage in trade. it's quite rare for a 2nd or 3rd world country to UNPEG. more info:

RooMonster 12:54 PM  

Hey All !
Struggled all the way through, ending up with one empty square at LE_/I_MENE. Argh!, what could it be? Didn't let the ole brain stew on it long enough, and threw in an O. "Almost there!" Noooooooooo. After SPARring with the puz, filling in things like SEERESS on blind faith, I ended up with a DNF/FWE at that square. Oh, HELL NO. "And from somewhere in the back of the mass gathering, a cry of Natick was heard." Har, waxing poetic.

After seeing the crossed out O, went through an X, then the "Aha, it's an S for LES" moment.

But an overall nice puz, as themelesses go. Went through all the three letter B vitamins before getting TWO, six, then Ten. Had tOntO for ZORRO first, as Silver is the only horse-human pair I remember. Another funny writeover, teASTIrrerS for PLASTIC CUPS thanks to OtHELlo. Actually wrote in red Solo CUPS first. Better answer. 😀

That Bees make it clue was another funny moment here. Wanted BUZZ, but obviously didn't fit, and even after having H_M, kept thinking, "What does HaM have to do with Bees?" Har.

Anything TUNA is a raw fish food, no?


albatross shell 12:55 PM  

Yes yes yes to this one. The collective violence @GillI for details. The myriad ways the answers fit together and be combined @Lewis. So many seem to shout and leap out at you. And such varied names doing such strange things.




Endless stuff like this today.

I kept my powder dry in the GATS/Guns OPHELIA/Othello options. Didn't anybody else try paperplates as a naked longshot?

Nothing wrong with bourbon and coke if it's the cheap stuff. Cream soda is surprisingly better. I drink the good stuff straight or iced.

When I moved into my house there was an old black clunker of a phone I kept. So old it did not have the finger hold on back. Visitors would try to pick it up, usually took at least 2 swoops before they realized there was no hold to be had. By the 80s the teenagers would stare blankly at the dial, shake there head, and then the eyes would show the AHA moment and then they start to dial. The phone company eventually took it away. I knew a woman up in the mountains who had a dial payphone in her living room. She got it in the 60s or 70s when it was an option. Too many visitors running up expensive long distance calls. Easy to do cross country in days of yore. Wasn't til the late 90s til TPC wanted that back. Anyone remember The President's Analyst?

Masked and Anonymous 1:01 PM  

Cannot believe I almost forgot to mention … neat, elusive crop of clues in this puppy. ACHORUSLINE's, f'ristance.
This makes the themeless puz almost as much fun to solvequest as a good themed one; except the theme mcguffin kinda changes, with each new sneaky clue.

Real good work, Mr. Treece.


burtonkd 1:05 PM  

@ Loren, My Quebecoise wife informs me the phrase is always "il etait une fois...". Unfortunately the pig's anus (pardon your French (a phrase I despise)) didn't take control, but was elected by people who still strongly support him, who I'm sure you are mostly surrounded by. I love your HS teaching stories and relate to that disconnect - present at all levels from inner city to elite private schools.

Surprised at the extent of hate for SEERESS. Bottom row is usually heavy on these letters. Also, not a generational word, as it is more out of mythology. @David, I don't think of -ess suffix as diminutive, as that means to make smaller. It is a feminine suffix, and I get your point of those being excised these days, but feminine is in NO way diminutive in my understanding.

@Pablo, to beat a dead horse, I think your comments are thought-provoking about the puzzle skewing old. I am 53 and find there are many clues that skew older than me, plus others my 20 year-old son has to help me with - he won't let me forget that I couldn't come up with AVICII. I personally like that the puzzle draws from such wide source material, and sends me off to learn about new things or old things new to me. I started doing the puzzle in my 20s, and find it much easier now due IMO to having lived longer, having learned many xword-isms, and puzzles may actually be getting easier with fewer Maleska era obscurities.

Being a classical musician, we fret continually about the greying of the audience and I've always wondered if there was an era before where it was more important to know about classical music, or if it is something people age into - I believe some of each.
Seeing as how much of our culture is geared toward advertising to the young, it is nice to have a place like the NYT Xword that rewards rather than dismisses a longer life of experience and learning. If puzzles really were only to include references to things from this century, they would solve more like the TV Guide - oops, old reference:) Francophilia was a big thing when I was growing up, and I think you have a point there about that language being favored in the puzzle. Another point I'd make in favor of older pop culture references is that they were more universal: there were only 3 networks and everyone saw pretty much the same shows, movies and listened to the same music - at least much more so than today's very splintered pop culture environment. Not saying one is better than the other, just that older references are more likely to be known by a larger number of people (not the DENTIST kind, thanks Lewis).

Sorry for long post...

Bravo to the commentariat starting 2020 off well!

OffTheGrid 1:10 PM  

@Kathy, I'm old enough that I recall (barely) having an operator and saying a 4 digit number to her. Dialing was an amazing leap at that time. I didn't have touch tone until my 20's.

IOR was a stretch. adding IOR to poster yields posterIOR. A funnier clue would be Poster end. Then you'd get a little word play.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Anon 12:52
Disparage Mr. Trump all you like, but it is precisely because he does know that the US currency is the world's de facto benchmark that he's enjoyed as much success as he has in the biz world. he was a successful currency arbitrager long before it was fashionable. It's also why he's half crazed about The Fed's monetary policy. He understands quite well what US markets--especially Bonds--mean not just to our economy but the world's.

Carola 1:30 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 1:37 PM  

Very fun to grapple with, very satisfying to finish (if I can count it as finishing, even though I didn’t understand the “cave man” clue). I had many of the same do-overs as @Rex and other commenters (though not OPHELIA) as well as “barbarities” before BRUTALITIES.

Humanities major moment of shame: “Wait, Alice MUNRO won the Nobel Prize?!
Humanities major somewhat redeemed: By memories of attending a 1965 Halloween party as ISMENE, clad in a pale pink bed sheet.

@mathgent, I enjoyed your characterization of the Western heroes and agree about ZORRO. He also had the best intro song: “Out of the night, when the full moon is bright....”

old timer 1:48 PM  

Got OPHELIA right off the bat. In my day, every kid was assigned a couple of Shakespeare plays, and ˙Hamlet was one of them. I also had Othello, but knew enough to not think of him at all. I also got RITZ CRACKER off the bat, because I used to love them. But as is usual on a Friday, I basically worked from the bottom up, because the bottom so often has gimmes like SEERESS and TAKE REVENGE and WATERBED (I had one for years before switching to McCroskey out of SF -- they brag that their mattresses are passed down in a family, like heirlooms, and that is likely -- you get what you pay for, in their case ALOT.)

Speaking of heirship, it took me far too long to get GRANDKID, even though I am a IV myself. However, my great-uncle, who died long before I was born, was the Jr (II). He only had a daughter, so my father was the III, I am the IV. But my son, had I had a son, would not have been V. As my mother put it, "We are a family, not a dynasty."

Joe Dipinto 2:00 PM  

@Nancy from Chicago – if you are filling out a questionnaire with the choices: a) this; b) that; c) other, "other" means "not listed above", or "unlisted".

This was a too-coastable Friday jaunt, imo, but I like the content. Started at Issa RAE/SEERESS, and all went smoothly – apparently I missed the "traps" as Rex called them.

I forgot about that demented "Friday" song – gee thanks, Rex! Here's something not from "A Chorus Line".

Pablo 2:06 PM  

@Pabloinnh - I hope you're not taking my aged clues comments as inflammatory. They're observations (and maybe a bit of disappointment that the most popular XW in the world seems to be falling behind). If I HARP on it, maybe it's just me finding excuses for why I'm banging my head against the wall occasionally even on early week puzzles.

@Z - I would actually call GATS current, but "Heaters" aged. Or at least maybe 90s. I'm sure Biggie used that term more than a few times in his OEUVRE (do I capitalize clues from yesterday?)

@Nancy - If we're making distinctions about the correct way to talk about "how phones used to look," I think Alexander Graham Bell might have a word. As for OPER, I haven't seen every rotary phone in the world, but it seems as though OPER and not "Operator" came into common use when the buttons became too small for the full word. So I will claim victory here on the basis of being "technically correct, the best kind of correct" (and if you know that last reference without google then I'll pack up my bags and never say a word about aged clues again).

Charles Emerson Winchester III 2:07 PM  

Currencies are sometimes “pegged” to one another. For example, the Hong Kong Dollar is pegged to the US Dollar at about 7.75 (it can move a little either side of that level), and the Danish Krone is pegged to the Euro at 7.45 (again, it can move a little around that level). When economic pressures render the peg unsustainable, the currencies might be UNPEGGED, either being allowed to float freely or perhaps re-pegged at a different level

Nancy 2:13 PM  

@Linda R. (11:51) -- OK, here's what I can and can't do re your instructions...

I can cut and paste it. That's because someone with a good heart, quite a number of years ago, shared with me the arcane secret of the Ctrl A, Ctrl C and Ctrl V progression. (You don't imagine I figured it out on my own, do you???? Who ever could?)

But paste it into my browser????? What, precisely, is my browser? Where exactly is it located on my computer? How do I "paste" something onto it -- whatever it is and wherever it is? Do I need some sort of menu to perform this function? It's all gobbledygook to me, I swear it is. I'm not being "cute", Linda -- please believe me, I'm not.

So how, with my lack of tech knowledge, did I find @whatsername's link? Easy. I typed "two millennials try to use rotary phone" into YouTube, and it came right up. Thank heaven that there's usually a non-techie, old-school way of doing everything. It's only when there isn't that I panic.

On an entirely different subject, @mathgent is ALL WET about "the best Western theme song" being Zorro's. The best Western theme song is unquestionably the theme from "Maverick". I'll give you the link in my next post. Of course I could be prejudiced, considering that I've had the hots for [the young] James Garner since that series first went on the air. And I still do, if truth be told.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 2:17 PM  

OPHELIA and ISMENE were gimmes, of course, but otherwise this provided a good, crunchy amount of resistance. I agree with those that have flagged the problems with the LES clueing but am surprised that no one bar @David 11:41am have noted the utterly incorrect clueing for the location of Bavaria. While the Alps border southern Bavaria and indeed Bavaria creeps into them, the vast majority of Bavaria is definitely not in the ALPS.

Overall, liked this one a great deal, even with the now common inclusion of things I know nothing about (Sci Fi films, Jedis - I am probably the only person of my age that has never seen Starwars or any of its derivatives).

Pablo 2:27 PM  

Yes! AVICII was the classic example, and what first turned me on to the fact that this puzzle steers away from younger culture (I started doing the puzzle in August). I typed it in without a second thought and was shocked to see so many people not just stumped but acting as though it was an impossible entry, even angry it was there! Rex dedicated an entire paragraph to it, saying it was the only entry a casual solver wouldn't know (yet it contained ELROY and URDU which I would think would be more obscure to a random person). That was some sweet vindication for all the times I haven't known 70s movie stars. I don't think you could find a 20-something in America or Europe who doesn't know that name.

Anoa Bob 2:33 PM  

I was a big fan of ZORRO many moons ago. I recall one episode where there was a stunning scene with ZORRO all in shiny black riding his white steed at full gallop through the desert, with cape and mane flowing majestically in the wind. The camera angle was low, almost ground level, and it was moving along at the same speed as horse and rider with a upward view of them and with mountains in the distance and a clear sky overhead. Beautiful!

And then came the great disillusionment. Right there in that big sky, as plain as could be, was a contrail! Yep, the long, straight, white trail of condensation from an aircraft at high altitude. Suddenly it became like one of those What's-wrong-with-this-picture? tests. What were the film editors thinking? I guess they had too much invested in that shot to cut it out because of the contrail. Burst my bubble.

ZORRO was my fist entry in the puzzle.

Nancy 2:38 PM  

Here it is as promised!!!!!! Not ZORRO. (Sorry @Mathgent.) No, the greatest TV Western theme OF ALL TIME!!!

Joe Dipinto 2:53 PM  

@Nancy – It's just a Google search. Paste the whole thing into the Google box where you would normally paste something you're searching, and hit enter.

Hawkeye 3:07 PM  

Well, Chuck. I imagine a good many people share your level of sophistication.

Conrad 3:21 PM  

@LMS: Are you sure about your French translation? I ran "Il y avait une fois un trou de cul cochon qui a pris le contrôle" through Google Translate and got "There was once a pig asshole that took control". Once upon a time indeed.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Any time Rex finds it challenging its because he didn't have enough sleep or he had too much sleep or he just woke up, on and on. And he just had to find something wrong. He's probably not someone one would want to know personally.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Chuck III,

You should think the usage pegged to one another. One currency is pegged to another. It's not mutual; one is the standard, the other the rider. A small matter, but important in understanding what is happening and why.

Paladin 4:01 PM  

Here's my nominee for best western theme song

Whatsername 4:02 PM  

@Nancy at 11:23 - i’m so sorry my link was faulty. I googled “millennials using rotary phone,“ then copied and pasted it the way I always do. But in the process I may have fat fingered an extra letter in there or something. I have been known to do such things. The Ellen clip was great too, especially the map folding.

@deerfencer and @PeterP - It’s not the mixture of Coke and Jack that puts me off so much as the fact I’m not a fan of whiskey in general. However I always keep some stocked for medicinal purposes. Even my teetotaler mother would keep a bottle by the bedside when she had a cold. But I’ve found that the lower end labels provide the most effective relief, a good throat numbing with a little afterburn. Not rotgut, but the good stuff is way too smooth.

Richardf8 4:29 PM  

I prefer Tuna Carpaccio myself, but it didn’t fit.

GILL I. 4:29 PM  

No, no, no....The best western theme song was/is without a doubt "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Punto, final. Now if our new young friend @pablo wants to do some barn yard dancing, he can....just listen to Gene Audry and his "Back in the Saddle Again." Try the TWO step!

JC66 4:48 PM  

IMHO, nothing beats The Lone Ranger.

mathgent 4:54 PM  

Sorry, Nancy. Gill I. Is right. TGTBATU is the one.

Linda R 5:15 PM  

@Nancy - I know you weren't being cute. I just wasn't sure how much more to say in my comment, so I thought I'd start that way and add more if necessary. Thanks, @Joe Dipinto. Nancy - Does Joe's comment take care of it?

Newboy 5:21 PM  

Late for the party today while playing with Stella’s puzzle which was recommended by a post a couple days back. Tough, but a fun distraction for those who crave more late week challenge to fill that existential void. As to today’s NYTXW, Mrs Newboy swears that her first phone number took a crank of one short and two longs, so little held us up among today’s clues that brought nostalgia rather than confusion. Glad to see the Greek & English tragedies balance with Nobelist MUNRO though I paused for too long quizzically pondering Saki???

Joaquin 5:27 PM  

@GILL I (4:29) If "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is your favorite, give this version by the Ukulele Orchestra of Britain a listen:

Masked and Anonymous 5:38 PM  

re: Western movie theme songs:

Y'all have pretty darn good choices. Any of them Ennio Morricone movie theme songs are super-top-notch.
Just for completeness sake, please also consider "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere", the closin theme from the "Red Rock West" modern western/noir flick. M&A nominee for best western movie theme with words. Altho, "Zorro" ain't bad either, I'd grant.

M&A Flick Database

Tom R 5:44 PM  

Meant to post this earlier and got distracted. Like Brian in the first comment, this puzzle was easy. Set a record time for a Friday. I get so frustrated when Rex calls a puzzle easy and I find it almost impossibly hard, then there is this. No rhyme nor reason to it I can see.

Z 5:45 PM  

Any song successfully covered by The Dead Kennedy’s gets my vote.

Some Commentariat conventions: Words in today’s puzzles are all caps, e.g. AIM. Partially wrong answers being discussed have the correct letters capitalized, so OthELlo or dNA. We don’t mention anything about earlier puzzles that might spoil the solve for people who aren’t doing the puzzles in order. Why? Because that’s how it was done when I started commenting here.

@David 11:41 - “ Okay, why would anybody associate the primrose path with Othello? I dunno.” Because Shakespeare and an initial O takes you to OthELlo. Even worse, an E and an L “confirm it.” I will reiterate my maxim, solving crosswords involves knowledge that is a mile wide and an inch deep.

@burtonkd - Many argue that a feminine suffix is inherently diminutive.

@anon1:18 - Yep. quite the record of success.

@Pablo2:06 - My Biggie quotes committed to memory is a significantly smaller number than even my Shakespeare quotes committed to memory.

@Joe DiPinto - You missed, I think, that @Nancy highlights by hitting ctrl A. (@Nancy - Ctrl A selects “All.” If you want just a specific patch of text like an url you need to highlight it by clicking immediately before what you want, holding the mouse button down and moving the cursor to the end of the text. Then Ctrl C to Copy, double click in the address bar so everything is highlighted, ctrl V for paste, and hit enter or return)

Which reminds me, lots of millennials and younger people would also have a hard time posting a link here. Having to work with the actual html code is something most people never have to do these days. Blogger is especially archaic in terms of ease of use for things like making text bold or embedding links.

Raoul Duke 6:07 PM  

I would gladly watch a YouTube video of elderly people trying to share YouTube videos with each other.

Nancy 6:24 PM  

I'm not sure I get any of the copy and paste advice. I'll look at it all again tomorrow when I'm fresh and see if maybe I can try to implement any of the systems suggested.

But a quick comment on the "best Western song" discussion: All you guys are giving me apples and oranges. The Lone Ranger is ROSSINI, for heaven's sake! Of course it's better than the Maverick theme. It's THE WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE for heaven's sake!

And as for THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY -- It's a movie! I was talking about the best TV Western theme. (Re-read my comment). Why, if I were to allow movies into the discussion, my favorite wouldn't be Maverick or Rawhide (also terrific); it would be the Theme from the Magnificent Seven -- which is one of the greatest, most exciting orchestral pieces ever written.

Tomorrow I'll get back to you on whether or not I can follow your cut and paste advice. You're all wonderful, wonderful people, but I wouldn't bet on it.

JC66 8:07 PM  


I was six years old when my parents finally relented and let me stay up to listen to The Lone Ranger on the radio, which I did every night on WJZ at 7:30PM (M, W. F) until it moved to TV. It was over twenty years before I learned it was Rossini, and it didn't make a whit of difference to me.

Nothing speaks of a galloping horse better.

Anonymous 8:31 PM  

Yes. Trump has had his failures.
The question was not that, but whether he understands the value of the dollar as it relates to world currencies.
Provide a relevant citation to that question, or refrain from jumping in my conversations with others.

JC66 8:39 PM  

@Anon 8:31

Provide a relevant citation that Trump understands anything but self-serving PR.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 8:42 PM  

You are quite correct and I apologize if my attempt at elucidation - necessarily simple - was too simple.

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

JC66 66,
He controls the US Federal Reserve

Charles Emerson Winchester III 8:50 PM  

Well Hawkeye, one presumes that we all do have a certain level of elementary knowledge of Shakespeare and Greek mythology ;-)

And here I thought I deserved credit because years of plebeian whining have finally taught me that Jedis are from Starwars and not from an apparently different program titled Star Trek.

JC66 9:22 PM  

@Anon 8:43

Trump businesses include condos, office building, golf resorts.etc., and he is CIC and President of the United States.

How is that a citation that he understands anything?.

CDilly52 10:38 PM  

I have been returning to the puzzle all day!!! Just to finish the extreme NW corner!!! All I could get is ESC. Briefly thought OtHELlo until I got IOR. Then continued really quickly clockwise around the grid. Until I got back to the NW corner. I had to come back and stare at those blank squares for a few minutes every hour and thought I was not going to finish. Woe is me.

Even with ____TARTARE and ____FLATION I was still stuck. Didn’t help at all that I quit re-reading the clues after several hours and just stared at the white space. And put in beef TARTARE totally forgetting that the clue said “fish.” Never heard of STAGFLATION, but having GUN at 11A made me believe my initial thought at 15D was right after all so I put in GATS and my beef became TUNA, and at long long last I finished. I really enjoyed the workout and thought many clues were Cleve, the wordplay interesting and I learned about STAGFLATION. Nice job Mr. Treece!

Alex M 12:03 AM  

I found this an easy, enjoyable, and excellent Friday. Long answers like ACHORUSLINE (great clue!), CROPCIRCLES, TAKEREVENGE, and TUNATARTARE bringing plenty of sparkle. I groaned at SEERESS and am surprised to not see Rex call out the egregious use of "cracker" in a clue for a grid containing RITZCRACKER - poor editing there. I spotted the Othello/OPHELIA trap right away, took care to avoid filling until I slotted in the A. Nice to beat Rex for a change!

wordcreation 2:12 AM  

A long time ago, I was solving this puzzle and got stuck at an unguessable (to me) crossing: N. C. WYETH crossing NATICK at the "N"—I knew WYETH but forgot his initials, and NATICK ... is a suburb of Boston that I had no hope of knowing.

xyz 11:50 AM  

DLS - Day Late Solve

For me marred by names out of my fund of knowledge, I thought this was an elegant puzzle with some good stuff and a DNF. The good was offset by a typical Will - the just awful ANEMIAS for weaknesses.

Weakness is indeed a symptom of ANEMIA, however - they are not even close to equivalents. UGH. Will the 'scientist' strikes again.

Unknown 1:25 PM  


spacecraft 11:53 AM  

I used THEFORCE to begin, and so worked from south to north. By the time I got to 4a, I already had the uninspiring entry PLASTICCUPS (curiously intersected by TEASET) in place, so for me Othello was never possible: thus gimme OPHELIA. Hand up for not understanding the UNCLE clue; after it was explained by OFC I thought it was way out there, even for a Friday.

Despite not knowing MUNRO, BINDI or ISMENE, I have to say this one FEELS more easy-medium than a lot of Friday puzzles. I'm surprised that OFC didn't have more to say about GUN/GATS/BRUTALITIES--pleasantly so. He rants enough. Noted already is the crutchiness of the SE perimeter, but all in all a nice solve. One nit though: every RV I've ever seen had a motor in it. NOT a "trailer."

Great clue for ACHORUSLINE. ETTA James or Issa RAE? Oh, let's make them co-DOD's this time. And I too felt the pain of the CREEP (another 5-letter word ending in "P") stabbing WETHEPEOPLE in the back. I used to be proud to be an American. We were the leader of the world. Now we are the world's biggest joke. I'm ashamed. And folks, you better steel yourselves for four more years of this (I HOPE only four! He seems to be able to get away with ANYTHING: pray he doesn't abolish term limits!). The opposition is far too fractured to offer up anybody who can win.

On that cheery note, I promise not to TAKEREVENGE against Mr. Treece. Birdie.

rainforest 12:11 PM  

Medium-challenging here.

@Burma Shave

It's time once again to give kudos to young Burma Shave,
Though at times I confess I think he can be a grey knave.
But for five years now he's penned poems, it is what he does,
And he does it each day without fail using words of the puzz.

Ya gotta love it. Thanks, Burma Shave

Burma Shave 12:32 PM  


I use THEFORCE of REVENGE instead.
When OPHELIA FEELS on fire,


BS2 12:36 PM  

Thank you @rainforest - Yes, it is that time of year again. If memory serves, tomorrow completes year 5 and Sunday starts year 6.

Diana, LIW 3:19 PM  

Yes - I Othello'd and Ella'd my way to needing some help, so honestly a dnf. I even thought of SoloCups first, which didn't fit, doncha know.

And yes, the CHORUSLINE clue was the best of the day.

Fear not, @Spacey. I'm from Philadelphia, home of Mayor Rizzo - a prescient of presidents to come. And Philly finally woke up - do you know the story? A proud moment for the city.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for a better day

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

How can anyone say Peter Lorre was a co-star in “Casablanca?” His character was important, but made only a couple of brief appearances.
Bogart, Bergman, and Rains are the only “co-stars.” Rains fit the clue

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

I forgot Paul Henreid!

leftcoaster 5:24 PM  

Pretty solid and on the tough side.

Four long acrosses in the middle and two in the SE were on the soft side, except that THAT'S UNREAL sounded a little off for its clue, "No way!", but I can hear it now. The two in the NW were tougher. STAGFLATION was familiar enough but the economics of its "lose-lose" clue ESCaped me. Agree that Peter LORRE was not really a co-star in "Casablanca."

Went for the misdirect clue for Loom before LIAR, and didn't remember ISMENE, who needed all the acrosses. Would never have guessed that Wonder Woman in the old days was in the OSS.

Fun and interesting puzzle. Thanks, WT.

sdcheezhd 6:38 PM  

I thought I guess he says somewhere that Desdemona leads him down the primrose path. I mean all those letters fit. I've seem them both in the last couple years and read Hamlet too and it didn't help.

You hate me don't you Rick. If I gave you any thought I probably would. That's enough for co-star for me.

JimmyBgood 2:11 AM  

You win. You are right and everyone else is wrong. That one is the best!

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